Friday, April 5, 2013

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri



This is a wonderfully atmospheric and enchanting piece of storytelling in the tradition of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Saba is a bright, brave and believable protagonist who is brutally and suddenly separated from her twin sister and her mother at the age of ten just as the Islamic Revolution in Iran was at its height. Saba and her father are Christians who move to their summer home in a small village in the North to escape the ever present dangers in Tehran. Surrounded by village women who become substitute mothers and by her friends Reza and Ponneh, Saba grows up cherished and a little spoiled but the loss of her twin sister Mahtab is so hard to accept that she invents a parallel life for her in America recounting the episodes of Mahtab’s journey through high school, dating and finally Harvard, like a modern Scheherazade. However the brutal realities of life for women are never far away and Saba must witness her best friend being beaten for wearing red shoes and a girl in the next village hanged for her involvement with politics. The hand of brutality also casts its shadow on Saba and feeling increasingly trapped in Iran her dreamlike Mahtab stories become increasingly radical. Finally through marriage love and friendship Saba learns to grow up and to move on. Dina Nayeri has written a strong and richly peopled narrative which readers will find hard to put down.


You can also find this review on lovereading.co.uk where I am on the reader reviewing panel
http://www.lovereading.co.uk/book/8382/A-Teaspoon-of-Earth-and-Sea-by-Dina-Nayeri.html

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